American Politics New Map: A subway series contest for the Presidency
Something very fundamental and strange has happened to the geography of American politics.
It is so enormous, so obvious and so counter to the accepted wisdom of the past half century that the entire print and broadcast media have missed it completely.
Texas, the West Coast and the Southwest are OUT and the old Industrial Northeast and New York City are back IN.
Youth is dead and age sweeps all before it.
The Republican presidential nomination has been won in a landslide weeks before the last batch of primaries were even contested by a 69-year old New York City billionaire.
Donald Trump does not deny his New York identity. He revels in it.
Trump does not fake a good ‘ol boy persona like fake cowboy George W. Bush – the heir of an family of elite billionaires from New England – so ludicrously did in 2000 and 2004.
Trump does not fake a compassion or awareness of the lives of ordinary people as Mitt Romney – another billionaire and former hedge fund boss to boot – from New England did in 2012.
Trump defended “New York values” against the snide innuendoes of Senator Ted Cruz in a national Republican debate and in his knockout triumph over Cruz in the Indiana primary.
By then Trump had routed Cruz across the South. Cruz only scraped meager victories in his home state of Texas, in Wisconsin and a couple of other places. But in the end, the Midwest too buried him.
However, Trump is not outlier, the weird exception to some still, imagined functioning rule. The Democrats from coast-to-coast are looking to East Coast, New York City standard bearers too:
Hillary Clinton, daughter of Chicago, long ago brushed off her Arkansas veneer. She carpet-bagged her way to a twice –elected Senate seat from New York because she already was wealthy, elite, brash and bold New York in soul, as much as Trump.
Nor is Clinton the embodiment of Youth, quite the contrary: If elected she will be older on taking the oath of office than even Ronald Reagan was.
And who has run Clinton an astonishingly close, sustained impressive race from coast to coast and from the Rio Grande to the Canadian border?
Why, it is 74-year-old Brooklyn-born, self-declared democratic socialist Bernie Sanders.
Sanders has lived his life in Vermont and well expresses the quirky, individualistic, hard-grained personal heroism his admirable little northeastern rural state. But he also proudly still wears his defining New York identity on his heart.
This was not supposed to happen. No New Yorker has been elected president of the United States in 72 years, since a dying Franklin Roosevelt won his fourth national election – against in fact, New York Governor Thomas E. Dewey in 1944.
Since then, every twice–elected president has come from the Midwest (Eisenhower from Kansas and Obama from Illinois), the Southwest (Clinton from Arkansas and both President George Bush’s from Texas or California (Ronald Reagan).
Since 1924, the Republicans have NEVER won the presidency without at least one of their two candidates coming from California (Hoover in 1928, Richard M. Nixon in 1952 and 1956, and in 1968 and 1972, Ronald Reagan in 1980 and 1984) or Texas (George Herbert Walker Bush in 1988, George W. Bush in 2000 and 2004).
Yet this time, the only Republican presumptive presidential candidate and runaway winner in the primaries coast-to-coast comes from New York. Such a thing has not happened since Thomas E. Dewey got skinned by Harry Truman in 1948. And no New York Republican has won the presidency since Theodore Roosevelt in 1904.
Republican voters never took former Texas Governor Rick Perry and for that matter Cruz seriously and there was not a single credible Republican from California in sight.
On the Democratic side, Hillary Clinton is fighting desperately to win the California primary by the skin of her teeth but rests her national challenge on the bedrock of her New York base.
The 2016 presidential election has turned into a Subway series: Who needs the Yankees or the Mets?
Next: The Death of Reagan Free Trade and High Tech Dreams: Why the Industrial Northeast is Rising Again.
Martin Sieff is the author if Cycles of Change: The Three Great Cycles of American History and the Coming Crisis That Will Lead to the Fourth (Amazon-Kindle, 2015)
Martin Sieff is an editor at Sputnik, the Russian-owned news organization. He is the author of The Politically Incorrect Guide to the Middle East (2008), Gathering Storm (2014) and Cycles of Change: The Three Great Eras of American History and the Coming Crisis that will Lead to the Fourth (2014). Follow Martin on: @MartinSieff